cover image Goldilocks Returns

Goldilocks Returns

Lisa Campbell Ernst. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82537-8

Fifty years after vandalizing the Three Bears' house, Goldilocks clearly has some issues to resolve. Nagged by guilt, she buys some groceries, straps on a tool belt and heads for ""the deep, dark woods."" Finding the Bears away, she replaces their steaming porridge with fat-free snacks and re-stuffs their beds (""Just as I remembered: too hard, too soft,"" she tsks). When the Bears return, they--and readers--experience profound d j vu. Ernst, the author of the revisionist Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale, puts a campy spin on a classic story. All the characters suffer long-term effects from their legendary first meeting; Baby Bear never left his childhood home, and ""due to the fright brought on by Goldilocks, he still had a wee little voice."" Ernst is at her wittiest when depicting the mild-mannered Bears, whose wide-eyed disbelief fades to glum acceptance of the unsolicited home improvements; there's also a satirical edge to the pastel palette, whose sentimental shades underline Goldi's friendly but misguided intentions. Goldilocks has grown from a curious child to a full-fledged meddler in this humorous retelling. Ages 4-8. (May)